The day democracy died
August 19, 1953
By Fariba Amini
August 19, 2003
White House Press Briefing with Scott McLellan
Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 2:00 p.m.
Mokhiber: The other question is this - the New York Times reporter,
Stephen Kinzer, has just come out with a book called, All
the Shah's Men,
An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. He documents
a CIA peration
Operation Ajax -- which was a coup that overthrew the democratic-elected
Prime Minister - Mossadegh. And he makes the following argument --
and I was
wondering if you agree to this -- he says, "It is not farfetched to
draw a line from
Operation Ajax through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic revolution
to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."
McClellan: I appreciate the opportunity to comment on a book that
I haven't read, but -- you're asking about the Central Intelligence
coup by the United States of a democratically elected leader in
Scott McClellan: Russell, I haven't even seen
Fifty years ago today, the United
States government and the Central
Intelligence Agency under the guidance of Kermit Roosevelt brought Dr.
Mossadegh, the beloved and
elected prime minister of Iran down to his knees, and overthrew his
For most Iranians, that was never to be forgotten. It was the day
Britain and the US, in order to save their interest in oil and for other economic
decided to eliminate the major obstacles in their path: The movement for the
nationalization of oil and its leader, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh.
Some months earlier, Dr. Mossadegh, single-handedly stood
up to the mightiest empire in the globe by protecting Iran's interest
in oil at
the United Nations and The Hague and had won his case triumphantly. By doing
he had angered the British immensely. Thus, the emerging and declining
superpowers of yesterday began their crusade and launched an all out offensive
against an elected government of another country.
In coup of August
19, 1953 the Eisenhower administration, the
Kermit Roosevelt, General Scwartskopf, Sir Anthony Eden
And his British counterparts in the MI6 were not the only culprits. After
Had their respective countries' best interest in mind! But the real
blameworthy were those
Iranians who betrayed their own country for money and power. Without their
active role, the coup would not have succeeded.
Their treason was not just against a man, who is considered
by historians as the most democratic minded statesman in all of
but also against the Iranian nation as a whole. Consequently, the coup
halted the nation's progress towards democratic rule and culminated
in a 25-year-rule of a dictatorial monarchy and 24-year-rule of a ruthless
As an Iranian and as a person whose father was Dr. Mossadegh's
personal attorney and close friend, I
would like to take this opportunity and post these clippings
and pictures from almost 52 years ago from the magazine Tehran Mossavar.
In these photos and
articles , one can clearly see the depth of Dr. Mossadegh's belief in
democratic values and his civilized demeanor towards his friends and foes
Unlike the claim of many in the West, namely the British and
Governments at the time who portrayed Dr. Mossadegh as an old foolish man,
he was a genuine believer in the government of the people by the
the Shah's Men, Stephen
Kinzer quotes a villager in Ahmadabad, where Mossadegh was exiled:
asked if Mr. Takrousta and his neighbors felt different from people
in other villages and he assured
did. We are not only different, he told me,
We're different because of the effect Mossadegh had on us. Visitors
come here from far away. They don't come to any other village.
that we had the privilege of having such a great man here. We
try to behave according to the example he gave us. We have a sense
unity, and solidarity. We take the hands of people in need. People
from other villages know we're like this and when they problems,
to us and we
them. You can't think of Ahmadabad without thinking of Mossadegh.
He's the father of our nation but also the father of this village.
shame that they destroyed his government.
Mossadegh is truly the father of our
nation and until the day when he will be recognized, both by his
enemies and his friends as such, one whose devotion to democracy
his downfall and his exile, Iranians will not
be satisfied. Mossadegh's place in history must be acknowledged next
to Mahatma Ghandi, Martin
Luther King, and Nelson Mandella as his struggle for Iran's independence
from foreign domination found new momentum in the history of the
Middle East and
gave birth to struggle for independence elsewhere.
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